Progress on freedom of expression, safety of journalists and human rights? A few steps forward, but many more back

A vendor at a newsstand holds up a newspaper with the results of the country’s presidential election, La Paz, Bolivia, 19 October 2020, AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images

Stepping backwards?

We know how dependent a robust civic space is on the right to freedom of expression and information — and vice versa. In recent months, the Americas region has been forced to reckon with instability in countries including Bolivia, Peru and Uruguay — not the usual suspects when it comes to more alarming reports of threats against these rights. The contexts are, of course, different in each case, but it’s possible to find similar ground when looking at the political crises that followed tense government changes and mounting social unrest.

Weaponising the law

May also saw intense discussions around legal changes expected to negatively impact the work of the press and of human rights defenders in general.

On World Press Freedom Day and the Day of the Internet

May was also the occasion for many organisations to share the results of their work monitoring free expression rights. In Argentina, IFEX member Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA) shared its annual report, which highlighted soaring rates in aggressions against journalists. CAInfo also launched its own report, which showed worrying developments for freedom of expression in Uruguay.

No signs of an end to violence against journalists in Mexico

Mexico had already entered an extraordinary period in 2022 with the killing of five journalists in January, which sparked protests and international criticism of the Mexican government. The outrage doesn’t seem to be having an impact on a situation that is seemingly out of control, as President Lopez Obrador continues to paint a negative picture of the press and to reject any kind of criticism on the matter.

In brief

The UN Human Rights Council elected three experts to lead the investigation into human rights violations committed in Nicaragua since the beginning of its crisis in 2018. The election was welcomed by human rights organisations in the region and marks a new step forward after the creation of the special mechanism in March this year.

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IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: info@ifex.org

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IFEX

IFEX

IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: info@ifex.org